Friday, January 31, 2014

What do you choose?

Do you ever have a day, week, month, or sometimes a year that just seems to much to bear? I do. Usually it is only a day or two at a time. But, when those days are upon me I don't really know how to move forward. Thankfully this month has been a month full of promise and good advice.

On the 11 I was able to attend a church meeting for all of the adult women in our area. The theme was "Choosing Happiness." The speakers were fantastic! I don't think that there was a dry eye in the room through some moments because the things they taught us were so precious. I left that day resolved to be a happier person (although I am sure my children and husband think I am still just as mean and ornery as ever). I came away with a renewed sense of purpose being a mother and wife. I came away feeling like what I am doing does matter and I am not just a maid to my family. I knew (and still know) that God loves me and He gives me trials and obstacles that are just right for me. Those trials will help me to be happy when I choose to let them do so.

As I have been reading more I am finding myself drawn to books not only to live in someone else's world for a few hours but to gain knowledge. This month in the book club I attend we read "The Phantom Tollbooth." It is a children novel but has so much hidden truth inside of it for adults. I found myself too closely connected with the main character Milo in that I often rush through my day without stopping to enjoy the beauty of the moments I am living. I have been taking a moment each day to just watch my children, individually, and what a wonderful thing it has been for me. I have been trying harder to do meaningful things and not just things to fill my time with. What a difference it has made for me.

I am currently reading another book about different ways to work with my children while raising them. It has caused me to reflect on my parenting methods and some of the things I can improve on. I don't feel like I am a horrible parent. My children know I love them and that I would do anything for them. I do like to try new things and see if I can help my children in better ways. Since my girls are so different than Spencer I am having to try new things to help them deal with the issues in their lives. I am excited to implement some of the methods I am reading about and see if any of them work (I am sure they will).

Last night I went to another church meeting for the neighborhood women. We talked about the different shoes or roles we juggle with everyday in our lives. It has made me reflect on which shoes I am wearing now and what shoes I want to be wearing. I know I cannot stand still but that I must keep moving forward and so maybe I need to change my shoes so to speak.

I am not sure if any of this makes anyone else feel better but I feel better getting some of my thoughts out of my head. I hope that we can all choose happiness. Choosing happiness is a frame of mind, it is an attitude, it is refreshing. I can honestly say that I am trying to be happy, not just content but truly happy. The question for you is: What do you choose in your life? Do you choose to be happy? Do you choose to enjoy life? Even when things are hard do you find ways to be happy that Heavenly Father is there to help you? What do you choose?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Better Me

My Dad taught me that I shouldn't wait until the beginning of a new year to change bad habits or set goals in my life. "If you want to change something in your life just do it right then." Yep, my Dad is the best.

Yet, I still am not the best at changing some things as soon as I think about them. Some things are really easy to change, and sometimes fun to change, like the furniture arrangement in the kids bedrooms. Yep, this past week Mark and I moved about half of the furniture in our house because I decided I didn't like the girls in the same room. I am getting a little off topic. Maybe this will all be spelled out in my next post. Stay tuned...

So, now is a good a time as any to change some of the bad habits and increase the good ones too. It has been said that writing down your goals helps you achieve them. Here is a list of five things that I think will make me a better version of me, the one I really want to be, and probably a closer version of what I really should be.

1. I want to be better about reading scriptures with my children. Before, we have read the picture stories to them and they have loved it. They still get the good lessons from the stories and it has gotten them in the habit of sitting to listen to a book that isn't trucks or princesses. But I don't want my children to regret not reading the Book of Mormon as a family. We actually started this a few days ago and haven't missed a day yet. Some nights we have read a whole chapter but most nights I am sure we will only read half a page. It isn't about how many pages but the lessons we can learn as we go.

2. I want to be better at keeping a clean house. I love to be in a clean environment but I have always had an excuse as to why I am not cleaning. So, I am committing to doing 10 minutes of cleaning a day besides the normal dishes, straightening, etc that happens already. I made a chore chart for the kids a couple of years ago and I think it is time to dust that off and put them to work as well.

3. I want to be better at going to health check ups. Things like the dentist and regular health visits have not happened a lot the past couple of years (2 of my kids haven't seen a dentist ever). That really bugs me some days so I am just going to be better about making appointments. I already am off to a great start this year. Today I took Spencer to the eye doctor (since the school recommend I take him back in September). Yes, he does need glasses. And I am so glad that I just took him in.

4. I want to get back in shape. Exercise four days a week (Monday thru Thursday) for 45 minutes a day. I would like to start dancing again but to do that I first have to get in shape and practice. Along with that I have to quit eating like a teenager. A lot less sugar! A lot less sugar! That is my weakness. Sugar!

5. I want to be a crafty person again. I have set a time on my phone once a week for an hour to stop what I am doing and go play in my craft room. Spencer and Katherine love to have craft time and so would I. I am behind on my scrapbooking and I would really like to be caught up with all of my kids books by their birthdays (2 in September, 1 in December). I know I can do it as long as I do a couple of pages each week. I already did 2 for Spencer and 1 for Katherine.

There are lots of other things I want to improve but these five are the big ones right now. Maybe in a couple of weeks I can add a few more because these ones will be going so well. Until then...

Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Well, 2013 was such a busy year that this is going to be the one and only post this year. My goal is to post a couple of times a month next year. The good news is that we have not only survived but thrived this year. Our three children are so adorable and growing faster than we want. Our business has picked up this year and we have finally finished a couple of projects around the house this year.

Mark is busier than ever. He finished his Bachelors last winter and decided to just put all of his efforts into Mountain Lighting. He took a trip to Alaska in August with two of his brothers and can't stop talking about it. He spoiled himself and our kids in November getting a miniature Shetland horse. We call her Sundae because she looks like a hot fudge sundae. Mark is the best dad ever! and both of our girls are daddy's girls. Every night they wont go to bed without a kiss from Dad or being rocked to sleep by Dad. Mark serves as a ward organist, priesthood pianist, family history consultant, and home teacher. He loves every moment of service to the Lord.

Spencer is such a wonderful boy. He turned 5 this fall (I am not sure how he grew up so fast). Spencer took preschool last spring and loved it. He started kindergarten this fall and is extremely smart. He is a wonderful reader. A few weeks ago Spencer started taking piano lessons and is doing very well with that as well. Spencer is so helpful and so much the big brother. He is always helping me put things away, feed the baby, or whatever else needs done.

Katherine turned three this year and is such a delight. She started taking dance lessons this fall and is one of the best ballerinas in her class (mostly because I dance with her at home daily). She has become quite the artist this fall getting very good at coloring between the lines. She loves her dolls, watching Care Bears, and playing hair dress up with Grandma. Her favorite thing to do this summer was go pick strawberries out of our greenhouse and eat them.

Rebecca Rose just turned one year old. She is such a joy. She recently discovered that she can walk. Now, with the help of strollers and walker toys, is unstoppable when it comes to moving. She is very much a Daddy's girl and lights up when Mark is around. She is so sweet and loving. She is learning to communicate to us using sign language which is AWESOME because we know what she wants. Church is a struggle with her because she doesn't like sitting still, especially during nap time. I am hoping 9 am church will help a little.

Me, I am the same old person. A crazy mother of three young children. But, if you add Mark (who lets face it, is a big kid trapped in a man's body), and Mark's mother who lives with us I really do feel like I have 5 children most days. I work three hours a day at the lighting store while Spencer is at school (a friend watches the girls for me). I am so blessed to stay at home in the afternoon with my children to play, teach, read, and have fun. I joined a book club in November which has really reminded me how much I love to read. Since joining I have read 5 books plus I am reading two more. I serve as a Family History Consultant, Visiting Teaching Supervisor and a Visiting Teacher.

Some things we have accomplished this year as a family:
*We finished our front yard (ok, not totally, but like 85%). We built a fence to define the yard from the road, put in concrete curbing, added rock to the driveway, and put in grass. In the spring we will add some flowers and shrubs and decorative rock in an island in the front yard but it looks SO much better.
*We grew a garden. Some of our big successes were pumpkins, peas, strawberries and cucumbers. We were able to make our own pickles (Delicious!). Another success in the garden was the discovery that our blackberry plant and one grape plant survived the neglect and cows eating their leaves to thrive this season. We are hopeful to actually see fruit on the blackberry plant this coming summer.
*We finished a small addition to the house (yep, another addition) that was already part of the structure. It was a toy room but we have done some rearranging this week and now it is my craft room. I love it! Don't worry, we still have a toy room, just upstairs in the loft now.
*We took a few trips including a trip to Yuba Lake (with my side of the family), Yellowstone (Rebecca and I stayed behind to work), Arches (again Rebecca and I stayed behind to work), and a staycation in Salt Lake City. Rebecca and I did go to a scrapbooking retreat in March just the two of us.

Overall, 2013 has been a wonderful year. I am so proud of my little family and the love that we share. I know that God blesses me beyond what I deserve. We have so many family and friends to share our joy with. I hope that each of you has had a great year and I pray that Heavenly Father will continue to watch over us and bless us in the year ahead.

Friday, September 7, 2012

I Can Hardly Believe

I can hardly believe that the summer is officially over. We have had so much fun even though we didn't do any major trips or vacations. Just being with the family has been good enough for me this year. I don't regret that we haven't been camping. It would have been fun but all the work of packing everything, the sweat and dirt while pregnant, etc did not out-way the ease of staying home. I think the highlight trip for our summer was Fourth of July week. We spent a couple of days with my family doing our normal visit. Then we went to Cherry Hill with my sister and her three adorable children. And to finish it off we visited North Ogden where Mark grew up for a couple of days. It was a great trip filled with good friends.

I can't believe that my baby boy is 4. How in the world did this happen? That means he is half way to being old enough to baptize! We did our first friend party for Spencer on Wednesday at it was great. Everyone that he invited was able to come (yep, all 5 of them). We did a robot themed party but did not in any way, shape, or form, go overboard. Spencer got a lot of great gifts so thank you to everybody who came and made it a great experience for him.

I can hardly believe that Mark is almost done with school. He only started 2 years ago and this is his last semester. He is doing his student teaching full time now which has made work so CRAZY for me but I am so proud of him for sticking it out. 14 days down, 46 to go. Even the kids are supportive of Dad in going to school. It has been a family effort to get to this point and I know that the benefits will bless us for the rest of our lives (even if he doesn't become a teacher). Bonus: he gets dressed up every morning and looks good!

I can hardly believe how happy I am. There has been a lot of drama for our extended family the past couple of months. Mark and I have had just as many problems at work, financially and home as any family but somehow they don't seem that big to us. We are in a state of peace and joy when it comes to where we are as a couple and how are children are growing up. We are working through it all together. Life is good as one of my bishops used to always say.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Slacker Update

Yep. It is official. I have been a slacker, again. All well. If you have come back and are reading this I know you love me anyway. So, I will do the quick review. But, you are warned eight months takes a little to catch up on. Mostly, life is the same for the Miller clan. We go to work, spend time with our kids, eat, sleep, and repeat. The best time of day is bedtime routine. My kids go down with such little fuss and I love that 5 minutes with each of them where they let me kiss their heads without complaint. Mark started and finished his last semester of actual class time at SUU. He still has to do his student teaching after that WE are DONE! I say we because it takes the whole family to get through a semester of school. Mark took his Special Education test in April and passed with flying colors! Congratulations to him on all his hard work. He is starting student teaching Monday and has to do 60 school days. He should be done by November 15. Spencer is still growing like a weed. In March he grew almost a full inch. Crazy but like I said, a weed. He started going to Primary and he loves it! His favorite part about it is the Spotlight they do on a different kid each week. He loves his Aunt Sarah. She has been kind enough to watch both of the kiddos while Mark had school Tuesdays and Thursdays. Thanks again Sarah! Spencer also loves to read, paint, and watch Chip and Dale, Rescue Rangers. He is so excited for his birthday in a couple of weeks (I think mostly because I am letting him have his first friend birthday party). He has phased out nap time for the most part which is sad but good because he does quiet time and does a lot of preschool type activities by himself at that time. Katherine is so dang cute. And she is so polite. She is constantly saying "Thank you Mama, good morning Daddy, Hi!, Bye bye!, and please." We call her our own Walmart greeter because she says Hi! to everyone we pass walking down the sidewalk, at the grocery store, anywhere. She is speaking in full sentences and picking up new words daily. She loves Elmo, her blanket, when Daddy comes around, and her new favorite- creamies. Her hair is always a mess. I say always because I will do her hair but within minutes she pulls it out or plays with it. She loves to dance. She can count to 10 and is starting to count in the teens too. Me, well, I am a mom. Life doesn't really change for me. I am expecting our third child. I am due 12/12/12 (is that the coolest due date or what?) with a girl. We just decided on a name: Rebecca Rose. I was really sick the first few months but now I am not sick, just getting uncomfortable. We have had a lot of changes happen at work the past few months. We decided last year that we were going to have to let our big store/warehouse go. The overhead was slowly killing us and we decided it was too much work for the two of us. So, in January Mark renovated a store front on Main Street in Cedar for us. It is much smaller (about 1/5 the showroom space and 1/16 of the warehouse space). But, it has worked out so well for us. We get a lot more traffic through our store and more advertising being on Main Street. But, with this move has come some sad sacrifices. Our lights are spread from our little storage space on site, to a container 2 miles away, to out at our house (more info on that in a paragraph). Also, there is no space for the kids to come and stay all day with me at work. I have hated that the most but I know that sooner or later they can't be with me all day long. We are still living in our barn/shed house. It is great though. We have been adding on since, well, basically last November, and it is finished. Carpet is grand I tell you! The addition has a nice family room (13 by 24), a food storage room, another bedroom, and a mudroom/ storage closet. We also built a greenhouse on our property. The greenhouse is full of lights for now. But house by house we are getting rid of a few extras. We hope by next spring we can actually put a garden in the greenhouse. We are planning on living in the barn for a long time. I am sick of moving. Between the 5 moves in 2 years, plus moving our ENTIRE store and inventory this year and moving things around for the addition I am not moving for a long time. Last February we learned that Mark's mother had congestive heart failure (she is in stage 3 of 4). As of this week she has moved in with us so we can help give her the care and support that she needs. She is doing pretty well and I hope that we can continue to see her health improve. In April our ward was split. We, mostly I, were devastated to be taken out of our ward. But, the newly formed ward that we are now a part of is great! Mark and I serve as the 12 to 13 year old Sunday School teachers. We both love the youth and the challenge of teaching them gospel principles and doctrine. Spencer transitioned smoothly into the new ward, Katherine not so much. She loved having us as nursery leaders and had a hard time going without us there. Just another reason why I have learned it is okay for my children not to be with me all the time. The new ward is small but has quickly grabbed a big piece of our hearts. Well, that is all I have time for now. I will put pictures on here of some of our adventures and happy smiles by the end of next week. I will not slack off so much anymore. Thanks for reading a quick recap on our lives. We hope that you are having a wonderful day.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Bucket List for Mommy Time 2012

I was spending some time on Pinterest and I found this list of things to do with kids. I decided this will be my bucket list for the yer with 2012. Some of these things I have already done with them. Kuddos to me. Many more to do, bring it. As I do the activity with them I will let you know.

Blow Bubbles
Play Hide-and-Seek
Play Chase
Do Finger-plays
Sing a song
Collect rocks in a basket
Make an obstacle course out of cushions and/or furniture
Make a fort out of cushions and sheets
Go for a Walk
Make a Car out of a Box
Read a book
Go to the park
Play with Play-Dough
Toss Bean bags into a Bucket
Play the shell and pea game
Dance to music
Download games for toddlers from the Internet
Practice putting things in and taking things out of boxes and bags
Make a temporary slide out of a table leaf and your couch
Roll a ball back and forth on the floor
Scoop dirt or sand into a child's bucket (or use a serving spoon and bowl)
Practice climbing by stacking boxes on top of each other (only with adult supervision)
Put on a puppet show
Go fishing with a yard stick and yarn
Make a Horseshoe game
Make a Shape Puzzle
Play paper basketball
Run through a Sprinkler
Play with a bucket of water and a sponge (PLEASE WATCH CHILD AT ALL TIMES!)
Make a Drum out of an oatmeal box
Play with a kazoo
Wash windows together
Bang on Pots and Pans with a spoon
Brush each other's teeth
Play dress-up with stuffed animals and your child's clothes
Stack canned or boxed food on top of each other
Let child stack mixing bowls inside each other
Make a playhouse out of a large box
Let child play with a sticker sheet (make sure your child doesn't eat them!)
Put stickers on fingers for finger puppets
Play a musical instrument together- i.e.recorder, piano, etc.
Go on a Smelling Hunt
Frost Cookies
Plant a flower or vegetable plant together
Roll a tennis ball into an empty trash can or bucket
Draw on a mirror with dry-erase markers
Play hide and seek together- trying to find a stuffed animal or other object
Have a splash party together in the bathtub
Put a leash on a stuffed animal and walk around the house
Record each other on a tape recorder (great for scrapbooks or journals!)
Make and try on paper hats
Give a piggy-back ride
Play "Horsey"
Talk into an electric fan (it distorts your voice)
Play tug-of-war with a blanket
Collect flowers (felt, artificial, real...)
Make a camera and go on a Safari
Play games with frozen juice lids
Disconnect your phone and pretend to make phone calls to relatives
Leave your phone connected and really make phone calls to relatives- let your child talk too
String large beads onto or along a shoelace
Squirt each other with squirt bottles
Glue shapes onto paper
Make sock puppets
Make paper puppets
Fill an old purse with toys
Use a paper towel tube as a megaphone
Make binoculars and go "Bird Watching" or "Stuffed Animal Watching"
Put snacks in different fun containers (paper sacks, empty canisters, etc.)
Act out a story from a book
Walk on a balance beam- use a 2x4 placed on the ground
Draw with chalk on the sidewalk
Sketch an outline of your child on the sidewalk or paper with chalk
Paint child's palms with tempura paint and blot on paper. Makes a great card for loved ones!
Put lipstick on child and kiss a mirror
Make a puddle on cement and splash barefoot in it
Let child decorate and eat an open peanut butter sandwich
Make a toilet paper barricade for child to go under, over, or through
Do the Hokey Pokey
Make a super-hero costume out of household items
Do Knee-Bouncing Rhymes
Play "Red Light, Green Light" saying "Go" and "Stop"
Make a shoe-box train for stuffed animals
Make a pillow pile to jump on (keep it clear from any hard surfaces, including walls!)
Make an easy puzzle with felt and Velcro
Make bracelets or collars for stuffed animals out of pipe cleaners and jingle bells
Learn numbers from a deck of cards
Play the matching game with a deck of cards
Make a domino chain
Have a picnic in the park, backyard, or living room!
Play dress up in Mommy or Daddy's clothes
Make a tin cup telephone and talk to each other in it
Make a nature collage
Mirror each other
Make a "Mummy Mommy" with toilet paper
Make a tape recording of short music selections and instructions to move in different ways
Make and walk along a toilet paper trail

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It Is Upon Us

Christmas is upon us our favortie time of year.
Have a Happy Holiday and peace throughout the year.

Those are the lyrics to a song I used to sing in elementary school. And the words ring true. The weather has turned bitter cold and the snow is glowing white. I love the change of attitude that this time of year holds. Yes, life is so busy. Cooking, baking, decorating, caroling, partying, birthdays, it all makes life hectic.

And I love it.

I love that we spend the extra time to remember those whom we love most. I love that everyone goes out of their way to give to those who have nothing. I love sitting in the soft glow of the lights of the Christmas tree, in perfect silence of the snow falling, just to ponder the birth of our Savior. I love it all.

So, even though I am stressed and don't get to everything on my list, deep down inside I am truly happy. I love this time of year. It is magical.

I love all of the traditions. For Thanksgiving we had lunch with the Millers in Cedar. Then we made the trek to Salt Lake to have dinner with my family. Both meals were delicious. Friday morning my mom and I went out Black Friday shopping. We got some great deals, not much traffic or choas while shopping so we had a lot of fun. Saturday we go to the cemetary and decorate the tree near my brother's and great grandmother's sites. Then we all went out for lunch at Hires. Yummy!

So, you might be asking why birthdays made my list of business of the holidays. Well, lets start the beginning of November. Mason, Matthew, Ben, Nate, Matt, Papa, Merica, Grandma Mary, Logan, Dave, Kailey, Alean. Throw in the holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, Boxing Day [there is a Canadian in my family so this holiday DOES count], and New Years Eve) and we have more party days than not.

Well, that starts the catch-up of blog writing. Maybe when I have a moment I will dump pictures onto the computer and show you all a few. Until then, remember...
the magic of Christmas is upon us.